Deputy Executive Director inaugurates Regional CSW Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean

Women’s Ministers and Gender Officials from 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries participated in the inauguration of the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean prior to the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women of the United Nations (CSW61)

Date: Monday, February 6, 2017

Photo: UN Women/Rodrigo Herrera

CSW is the main intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. This year, it will address "Women's Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work" as its priority theme during its annual session, which will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in March. The emerging theme of CSW is indigenous women’s empowerment, which is of particular relevance to Latin America and the Caribbean, where 45 million indigenous people live.

The Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, officially opened the consultations in a ceremony held at the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (Parlatino) in Panama City. "This is 2017 and we really need to move the agenda for women’s empowerment forward with more energy," said the Vice President. She stressed the need for men to become involved and co-lead the process, and she lauded UN Women’s HeForShe initiative.

UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director, Lakshmi Puri, underlined that given the current economic slowdown in the region, empowering women economically could increase GDP per capita by up to 14 percent. “Despite this,” she pointed out, “women continue to be relegated to low-wage and low-quality jobs, with no access to decision-making and taking on the bulk of unpaid care and domestic work.”

The Director of the Panamanian National Institute for Women (INAMU), Liriola Leoteau, said "we are convinced that guaranteeing a sustainable world requires to be conscious of the various forms of discrimination that prevent social justice for millions of women, that keep them from benefitting from their work and that impede an equitable distribution of wealth. We are particularly mobilized by the urgency of establishing efficient strategies to overcome the multiple barriers that impede women’s effective participation in decision-making on economic, fiscal, macroeconomic policies and that influence labour relations in a way that leaves women without social protection, particularly affecting impoverished and socially vulnerable women."

The Director of the National Institute of Women of Uruguay (INMUJERES), Mariella Mazzotti and the Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and Caribbean, Luiza Carvalho, also presided over the inauguration.

UN Women
Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serra

In addition, about 80 representatives of women’s and feminist organizations and networks from Latin America and the Caribbean were present.

The consultations continue until Wednesday, 8 February, when participating governments will adopt a common declaration and define the main concerns of the region related to women’s economic and labor empowerment and the situation of indigenous women. It is expected that these concerns will be reflected in the Agreed Conclusions of Member States at CSW in March and will help accelerate the full exercise of women's rights at the global level. The Agreed Conclusions of CSW will then be forwarded to the United Nations Economic and Social Council for their follow-up.